The picture of a young boy and his grandpa stirring fruit over a hot stove at Christmastime is a representative snapshot of one of Moab’s longest-standing county council members doing what he loves: spending time with his family, and helping with something good that can be shared with others.
Ken Ballantyne was making jam with his grandson when the Moab Sun News recently caught up with him. The former state trooper has a soft spot for kids, and is glad to have time with his grandchildren in his new life working with the Utah Department of Transportation. When the snow starts to fall as forecast on Christmas Day, he’ll happily take to the streets with a snowplow so his coworkers with young children of their own at home can spend the holiday with their families.
“That’s what you do in a small town,” Ballantyne said. “You support the kids. You support each other.”
When he and his wife moved their family to Moab from Farmington in 1980, they were told by the bishop of their congregation in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that if people stay for two years, they usually stay forever. He was right, and the fact that they’re here still today is a testament as much to their kids’ love for the town as their own. Ballantyne still attends sports and arts events at the local schools, supporting the same community that turned out for his kids for so many years.
Since he was elected to the Grand County Council in 1993, Ballantyne has served in many different roles, and he has made a significant impact as a very conscientious supporter of the people’s voice, Grand County Council Chair Elizabeth Tubbs said.
“He has very strong views,” she said. “But he tends to look at the issues and tends to do what he feels is best for the county. He always shows great concern for the citizens; he’s very interested in listening to them and making sure they are heard.”
He gets involved in as many areas as his schedule allows for, making an impact on boards for mosquito abatement and library services during the final year of his final term with the council.
For as long as he’s been a council member, he has served as the council’s liaison to the Canyonlands Health Care Special Services District, and was instrumental in the creation of the 36-bed extended care facility that serves Moab’s senior citizens, the vulnerable community population on the other end of the age spectrum.
“When families need to put mom or dad in extended care, this is where their support network is,” he said, adding that he has always very much enjoyed the challenge and reward of working with the health district.
His own father passed away earlier this month after suffering from Alzheimer’s for several years. As a leader in the community and his church congregation, Ballantyne said, he’s following in the elder Ballantyne’s footsteps.
“It’s a lesson I learned from dad: if they live on your street and you know they need something, you get your butt over there and help,” he said.
This profile was made possible by the generous support of Rocky Mountain Power.
This Week: Ken Ballantyne